Translation:I am busy, sorry!
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Dear learners) I don't want to be offensive)
If you sure, that your variant should be considered as accepted one (but now it is not) — use the REPORT link at the bottom of the page (it appears after you click CHECK)
if you want to add another one comment "I wrote "sorry. I am busy!", please, be kind, and add it under THIS post, and not to the root of this thread... Sometimes it is annoying to scroll down 5-10 screens of such comments, when you just want to find a useful comment like "What's the literal meaning of 对不起?"
Goodluck everybody, on this difficult way of learning Chinese!!
first of all I'm excited, that my comment is on top of the conversation)))
answering the question about the literal meaning: there are many experienced learners on this forum, who... I don't know what do they do here but they often write interesting articles related to sentences - this is the real power of Duolingo — friendly, smart, and huge community. So, these people or beginners (just like me) could google/read Wikipedia/explore ChineseReadersGuild or get knowledge from other sources, and share it here.
So, even if you or me (or any other person) would find something interesting and would like to post a comment - our comment will be drowned among tons of "Sorry, I am busy"-like comments.
对: to face, to enterface. 不: not. 起: to rise / to arise --> to be capable / to afford (It rises. --> It stands on itself. --> It is capable. e.g. 经得起考验 It can go through the test. ) Literally 对不起 means 'I cannot face you' --> 'I am embarrassed' --> 'I am sorry'. In some colloquial texts / dialects we also say 对不住 (住 = to stay / to live in somewhere --> to remain --> to sustain), which follows the same logic.
Yes, but it's not as pronounced and can be difficult to catch.
Note that some characters have multiple pronunciations and each of them may have multiple meanings, hence 多音多义字 duo1 yin1 duo1 yi1 zi1 (many sounds many meanings word, literally).
Another thing to note is that for a phrase 词 with 2 characters, if both are in the third tone 第三声, the first character's pronunciation becomes 第二声 the second tone.